Sunday, October 23, 2011
West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan joins area developer Scott Williams in the latest video about the Little Egypt Oasis proposal to split the Exit 65 interchange on Interstate 57.
Williams owns the old Burlington Railroad bridge over the interstate and wants to make it a new centerpiece for development on the west side of the city.
The plan would move the south ramps at Exit 65 south past the bridge to what's known as North Road. There the ramps would connect to two one-way frontage roads on either side of the interstate that would run north to Main Street and the existing interstate ramps to the north.
The current ramps on the south side of Exit 65 are shorter than desired even by 1960s standards for interstate highway construction. The problem then was the presence of the massive railroad bridge.
With the planned widening of the interstate to six lanes during the next decade the railroad bridge's presence will only increase the safety issues, unless as Williams points out, the state splits the exit and moves the south ramps south of the railroad bridge.
That move would not only open up hundreds of acres for new commercial development, but would also allow the development of a southwest bypass or Burlington Boulevard along the old railroad grade connecting Route 37 on the south side of Frankfort to Route 149 west of Kmart.
Wiliams has been working on this for a few years now. The pyramid part of his project over the interstate would also create a huge gateway to Southern Illinois for southbound tourists entering the region.